Zlín (Czech pronunciation: [zliːn]; German: Zlin) is a city in
Moravia in the Czech Republic, the seat of the Zlín
Region, on the
Dřevnice River. The development of the modern city is
closely connected to the
Bata Shoes company and its social scheme,
developed after the First World War. From 1949 to 1990, the city was
Tomáš Baťa (1894–1932)
1.2 The city in 1932–1945
1.3 Postwar era
2 Architecture in Zlín
2.1 Urban utopia
2.2 Architectural highlights
5 Public transport
6 International relations
6.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
6.2 Partnerships and cooperations
9 External links
The first record of
Zlín dates back to 1322, when it served as a
craft guild center for the surrounding area of Moravian Wallachia.
Zlín became a town in 1397. During the thirty years war, the
residents of Zlín, along with people from the whole Wallachian
region, led an uprising against the Habsburg monarchy.
Until the late 19th century, the town did not differ much from other
settlements in the surrounding area, with the population not
surpassing 3,000. Though historically associated with Moravian
Zlín stands at the corner of three historical Moravian
cultural regions; Moravian Wallachia,
Moravian Slovakia and Hanakia.
Tomáš Baťa (1894–1932)
Still popular Baťa houses
Houses for employees
The town grew rapidly after
Tomáš Baťa founded a shoe factory there
in 1894 when the population was approximately 3,000 inhabitants.
Baťa's factory supplied the
Austro-Hungarian army in
World War I
World War I as
the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Due to the
remarkable economic growth of the company and the increasing
prosperity of its workers, Baťa himself was elected mayor of
Baťa became the leading manufacturer and marketer of footwear in
Czechoslovakia in 1922. The factory in
Zlín was modernized and
expanded before 1927.
Tomáš Baťa created a distinct management
system around 1924 and sought convergence of interests of
entrepreneurs and employees. Besides producing footwear, the company
diversified into engineering, chemistry, rubber technology and many
more areas. The factory hired thousands of workers who moved to Zlín
and lived here in large garden districts. Between 1923 and 1932, the
number of Baťa employees in
Zlín grew from 1,800 to 17,000; the city
population increased from 5,300 to 26,400. In those years, the number
of trades and crafts increased from 150 to 400. Apart from the Baťa
company, there were about five other shoe factories in the city. A
network of quality schools, a large hospital, and a number of cultural
and physical education associations were available to the residents of
Tomáš Baťa set up branch offices in more than
twenty countries in
Europe including United Kingdom, Africa, Asia,
United States, and Canada. Stores and footwear factories in these
countries were managed from the headquarters in Zlín. Baťa Company
employed a total of 31,000 people in 1932. Factories and adjacent
residential districts were built according to the model of
the following locations:
1931 Ottmuth (Germany)
Chelmek (Poland), Borovo (Croatia),
1934 Best (Netherlands)
The city in 1932–1945
Tomáš Baťa died in a plane crash in July 1932. The company was then
managed by Jan A. Baťa, Hugo Vavrečka and Dominik Čipera, who also
became the mayor. The Baťa company and also the city of Zlín
continued growing. In 1929–1935, a strong economic agglomeration
Napajedla has developed. In 1935, the city
became the seat of the administrative district and strengthened its
position in eastern Moravia. New secondary schools were added to the
network of educational establishments. The population increased from
26,400 to 37,400 between 1932 and 1939, the number of employees of the
Baťa company grew from 17,000 to 22,000; the number of trades and
crafts increased from 400 to 1,100 (1937).
The development of Baťa enterprises abroad continued. By 1938, there
were stores and factories in 38 countries and the number of employees
World War II
World War II (1939–1945) life in the city was under the
influence of German occupiers. The management of the large global
company had to be split. The
Zlín management of the Baťa company (D.
Čipera, H. Vavrečka, J. Hlavnička) affected businesses in the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and in certain European
countries. Jan A. Baťa lived in the
United States (1939–1941) and
then settled in Brazil.
Thomas J. Bata
Thomas J. Bata exiled to
Canada in 1939. Zlín
was hit by war in the autumn of 1944, when the city was bombed and
suffered significant damage. A group of partisans and resistance
fighters fought against the Nazis in the vicinity of
Zlín was liberated by the Soviet and Romanian armies on
May 2, 1945.
The communists took over management of
Zlín and Baťa factories in
May 1945, and in October the Bata company in
Zlín was renamed Gottwaldov in 1949 – after the first
communist president of
Czechoslovakia – Klement Gottwald. The city
developed its position as administrative, economic, educational and
cultural center of Eastern Moravia. The local technology faculty
became active in 1969. The appearance of the city was significantly
influenced by the construction of housing made from prefabricated
concrete-slabs, a typical building method in the Czech socialist era
of early '70s and late '80s. A new city theater building, ice hockey
stadium and other facilities were built as well.
Velvet Revolution in 1989, the city's name was changed back
Zlín as of January 1, 1990.
Thomas J. Bata
Thomas J. Bata came to visit the town
immediately and established a branch of his company there in 1991. It
became the seat of the newly formed
Zlín Region in 2000. Tomas Baťa
University, which follows the older traditions of local higher
education, was founded in Zlin in 2001.
Architecture in Zlín
Small bus station on the edge of town brownfield, already cancelled
– the brownfield is currently undergoing massive reconstructions.
Restaurant on the roof of Bata skyscraper.
The city's architectural development was a characteristic synthesis of
two modernist urban utopian visions: the first inspired by Ebenezer
Garden city movement
Garden city movement and the second tracing its lineage to Le
Corbusier's vision of urban modernity. From the very beginning Baťa
pursued the goal of constructing the Garden City proposed by Ebenezer
Howard. However, the shape of the city had to be 'modernized' so as to
suit the needs of the company and of the expanding community.
Zlín's distinctive architecture was guided by principles that were
strictly observed during its whole inter-war development. Its central
theme was the derivation of all architectural elements from the
factory buildings. The central position of the industrial production
in the life of
Zlín inhabitants was to be highlighted. Hence the same
building materials (red bricks, glass, reinforced concrete) were used
for the construction of all public (and most private) edifices.
The common structural element of
Zlín architecture is a square bay of
20x20 feet (6.15x6.15 m). Although modified by several variations,
this high modernist style leads to a high degree of uniformity of
buildings. It highlights the central and unique idea of an industrial
garden city at the same time. Architectural and urban functionalism
was to serve the demands of a modern city. The simplicity of its
buildings translated into its functional adaptability was to prescribe
(and react to) the needs of everyday life.
The urban plan of
Zlín was the creation of František Lydie Gahura, a
student at Le Corbusier's atelier in Paris. Le Corbusier's inspiration
was evident in the basic principles of the city's architecture. On his
Zlín in 1935, he was appointed to preside over the selective
procedure for new apartment houses.
Le Corbusier also received a
commission for creating the plan for further expansion of the city and
the company. His plan represented a paradigm shift from his earlier
conceptions of urban design. Here he abandoned an anthropomorphic,
centralized city model in favor of the linear city format. The change
in Le Corbusier's thinking was reflected by the abandonment of the à
redents residential pattern in favor of free-standing slab blocks. His
Zlín plan, however, was never fully adopted.
The Villa of
Tomáš Baťa was an early architectural achievement in
Zlín (the construction was finished in 1911). The building's design
was carried out by the famous Czech architect Jan Kotěra, professor
at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts. After its confiscation, in 1945, the
building served as a Pioneers' house. Being returned to Tomáš J.
Baťa, the son of the company's founder, the building now houses the
headquarters of the Thomas Bata Foundation.
Baťa’s Hospital in
Zlín was founded in 1927 and quickly developed
into one of the most modern Czechoslovak hospitals. The original
architectural set up was designed by František Lydie Gahura.
The Grand Cinema (Velké kino) was built in 1932 and became the
largest cinema in
Europe (2580 seated viewers) in its time. The cinema
also boasted the largest movie screen in
Europe (9 x 7 meters). This
technological marvel was designed by the Czech architects Miroslav
Lorenc (1896–1943) and
František Lydie Gahura
František Lydie Gahura (1896–1958).
The Monument of
Tomáš Baťa was built in 1933 by František Lydie
Gahura. The original purpose of the building was to commemorate the
achievements of Baťa before his unexpected death in a plane crash in
1932. The building itself is a constructivist masterpiece. It has
served as the seat of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra
Baťa's Skyscraper (Baťův mrakodrap, Jednadvacítka) was built as
the headquarters for the worldwide Baťa organization. Designed by
Vladimír Karfík, the huge building was erected in 1936–1939. It
included a room-sized elevator housing the office for the boss,
comfortably furnished – with a sink, a telephone and air
conditioning. When it was built it was the tallest Czechoslovak
building (77.5 m). After a costly reconstruction in 2004, it became
the seat of the
Zlín Region and the headquarters of the tax office.
Tomáš Baťa University
Zlín is now the county seat. The city is home to the Tomas Bata
University in Zlín, which opened in 2001. With approximately 12,000
students, it ranks as a medium-sized Czech university, and offers
courses in technology, economics, humanities, arts and health care. As
with other larger cities there are a lot of shopping malls. There is a
hockey club, PSG Zlin, which plays in the top Czech league, and a
football club, FC Fastav Zlín, playing in the Czech first football
league. The buildings of the former Baťa company have either been
renovated, abandoned or demolished.
Movie theatre in Zlín.
Weekday in Zlín.
Zlín's ice hockey team, PSG Zlín, plays in the
Czech Extraliga and
has won two national titles, most recently in 2014. The football team,
FC Fastav Zlín, plays in the first level of Czech professional
football, the Czech First League, having played there sporadically
since 1993. The city also has teams in other sports including
Czech handball and rugby.
Trolleybus Škoda 24Tr Irisbus
Public transport in
Zlín has a long history. In 1899
connected with to the railway network, helping its expansion. In the
1920s local passenger transportation started to operate. Later, in
1939 the town council decided to build three trolleybus routes,
numbered lines A, B and C. New trolleybus lines were finished in 1944,
after the construction proceeding during the Nazi occupation. Through
the times, Zlín's public transport, now owned by DSZO (Zlin &
Otrokovice Transportation Company), was one of the fastest-growing
public transportation networks in the Czech Republic.
The city is currently served by 13 bus routes and 13 trolleybus
routes, and also railway services on line 331, which runs from
Otrokovice (located on the international corridor) to Vizovice. There
are nine stations on this line within the city of Zlín, the largest
of which is
Zlín střed (
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Czech Republic
Twin towns – Sister cities
Zlín is twinned with:
Campo Grande, Brazil
Sesto San Giovanni, Italy
Partnerships and cooperations
Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin
city programmes exist:
Tom Stoppard was born Tomáš Straussler in
1937 where his father Eugene (Evžen) was a physician under the
forward-looking Bata doctor, Bohuslav Albert. The Strausslers left for
Singapore in 1939. The Strausslers were one of the Jewish families
that Jan Bata rescued from the Nazis at the outset of World War II;
Daniel Málek, a Czech breaststroke swimmer and three-time Olympian,
was born in Zlín;
Ivana Trump (née Zelníčková), Donald Trump's ex-wife, was born in
Vladimír Hučín, Czech political personality, was born in Zlín;
The Broadcaster Sir
John Tusa was born in
Zlín in 1936 where his
father was a company executive. In 1939, the family moved to England,
where his father became the managing director of Bata's East Tilbury
Tomáš Dvořák, multiple world champion in decathlon, was born in
Ice hockey players Roman Čechmánek, Karel Rachůnek, Roman Hamrlík
and Petr Čajánek;
Eva Jiřičná was born in Zlín. Her father worked as
an architect for Bata;
Pornographic film actress
Silvia Saint worked as a manager of a large
hotel in Zlín;
Jan Zakopal was born in Zlín;
Czech architect Petr Janda was born in Zlín.
Miloslav Petrusek was born in Zlín.
Frampton, Kenneth (2001). Le Corbusier. London and New York: Thames
and & Hudson World of Art.
Meller, Helen (2001). European Cities 1890-1930s. History Culture and
the Built Environment. Chichester (UK): John Wiley & Sons,
^ "Groningen – Partner Cities". © 2008 Gemeente Groningen,
Kreupelstraat 1,9712 HW Groningen. Archived from the original on
2007-09-26. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
^ "Partner cities". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
^ "Partner cities".
^ Pessotto, Lorenzo. "International Affairs – Twinnings and
Agreements". International Affairs Service in cooperation with
Servizio Telematico Pubblico. City of Torino. Archived from the
original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
^ "Jan Zakopal". Osobnosti. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zlín.
Public Transport Official Site
Aviation company Zlin Aircraft a.s. established by T. Bata 1934
Zlinternational is an internet portal for internationals in Zlin
founded by Erasmus students studying at the Tomas Bata University
history of Zlin, old photos and postcards
Towns, market towns and villages of
Bohuslavice nad Vláří
Bohuslavice u Zlína
Štítná nad Vláří-Popov
Želechovice nad Dřevnicí
Administrative seats of Czech regions
Ústí nad Labem